Gina Zuckerman has always been a tough cookie. The 90-year-old Greenwich Village woman survived the Holocaust, worked in the testosterone-infused culture of Madison Avenue, and still lives alone and independently in her studio apartment.
So a female mugger who tried to snatch Zuckerman’s purse got more than she could handle when the nonagenarian fought back — and won.
“I wouldn’t give it to her. I fought her off. I was stronger than her,” said Zuckerman, interned in a forced labor camp for six years, in an interview with the New York Post.
Her attacker approached from behind on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street, and fled the scene as a crowd grew.
“I just screamed and held onto my bag,” she continued, “I could not possibly let this woman get away with this.”
During the scuffle, Zuckerman’s assailant pretended to bystanders that she was the woman’s home health aide, but was given away by the fact that she’d sunk her nails into her victim’s right arm, leaving the elderly woman bleeding.
Zuckerman was sent to the hospital, where she received five stitches. The purse snatcher remains on the lam, and the police have released a wanted poster for her.
Discharged and now at home, Zuckerman told the Web site DNAinfo that she’s going to replace her pocketbook with a deep-pocketed coat.
She admitted fearing she could be a target again.
Still, she vowed not to live in fear, and will keep on volunteering at the local senior center, where she was headed when all this happened.
“She should not come and look for anything [more] in our neighborhood,” Zuckerman said to the Post. “She should not come with the intentions to attack old ladies, because the old ladies will not let her come close to them.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.